FRENCH LIGUE 1

Municipal du Ray, France

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St Etienne

  • Mevlut Erding 23'

Nice v St Etienne: Preview

Nice will have to try to cope with the absence of leading scorer Dario Cvitanich when St Etienne visit in Saturday's Ligue 1 mid-table clash.

The Argentina striker is suspended for the match after picking up three cautions in the space of 10 days and he will leave a big gap in the Nice attack.

Cvitanich, 29, has scored seven times in the league this season - by contrast no other Nice player has scored more than once.

Nice have also suffered an injury blow with coach Claude Puel confirming that midfielder Mahamane Traore is out for two to three weeks with a muscle injury.

The missing players should give heart to St Etienne, who are fourth places above Nice - though only by one point - with both clubs struggling for form. St Etienne have only achieved one win in their last eight games, while Nice have lost five out of their last seven.

St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier has his own problems to deal with - not least his misfiring strikers.

The majority of the goals have come from midfield, especially via French-Algerian midfielder Romain Hamouma who has been in excellent form with six goals and three assists this season.

Galtier may give a first start of the season in defence to Florentin Pogba, the older brother of the ex-Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba who is now at Juventus.

``He has, so far, played a match in CFA2 but he has trained normally. He would play at centre-half alongside either Loic Perrin or Moustapha Bayal Sall,'' Galtier said on the club's official website.

St Etienne are struggling in defence with Kurt Zouma serving a suspension and Jean-Pascal Mignot injured.

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